ENCINITAS — From the battlefields of the American Revolution to the deserts of the Middle East, women in the military have served for more than 200 years and the April meeting of the De Anza Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution sought to honor and show gratitude to female veterans.
The Daughters of the American Revolution meeting featured speaker Jodie Grenier, CEO of Foundation For Women Warriors as well as honoring Capt. Kathleen Bruyere with a Women in American History Award and recognizing Honor Flight San Diego and veteran Ruth Gunther.
The Foundation for Women Warriors is a 100-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and empowering women of the veteran community as they transition to civilian life. Grenier shared that in the past year 77% of veterans served through FFWW were single parents and spoke passionately on FFWW’s mission to enhance the economic well-being of an increasing population of women veterans. Chapter members donated an abundance of spa items, from lotions, shampoos, bath salts to silky robes and calming candles for the foundation’s upcoming Mother’s Day Spa event.
Honor Flight Board Member Saundra Cima and veteran Ruth Gunther were on hand at the Daughters of the American Revolution meeting to receive De Anza’s monetary donation as well as nearly 100 thank you cards and notes for veterans who will be participating on the next Honor Flight scheduled April 29. Gunther, at 102 years old, flew to Washington DC as part of Honor Flight’s October 2021 trip, where she received special recognition at the Military Women’s Memorial. Daughters of the American Revolution chapter members were treated to Gunther’s reminiscences of entering the Navy to join the Hospital Corps after Pearl Harbor.
The NSDAR Women in American History Award was presented, posthumously, to Capt. Kathleen Bruyere. Kathleen joined the Navy in 1966 and became the first female flag secretary, managing staff for an admiral who oversaw nine Pacific training commands. In 1976, Bruyere was featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of the “Women of the Year.” An advocate for women in the military, she sued the Navy and Defense Department, joining with five other Navy women arguing that their opportunities were limited, not being allowed to serve on ships. In 1978 the ban was declared unconstitutional. She was promoted to captain and helped conduct a study that opened up 9,000 jobs for women in the Navy. She retired from the Navy in 1994 and passed away in 2020. Bruyere is being honored by the Veterans Administration with a component of the medical center being named in her honor. Her stepson T.J. Bruyere accepted Kathleen’s award on behalf of the family.
NSDAR is a service organization comprised of members whose patriot ancestors served during the American Revolution. The De Anza Chapter serves the community in a variety of ways, focusing on patriotism, education and historic preservation.